More countries in the BIC global network were represented at the 2017 Brethren in Christ National Leader Conference, based in London, November 17-21, than any other BIC-specific event in Brethren in Christ history, according to our common knowledge.
Twenty-five national BIC leaders representing 17 nations and five continents participated in the assembly hosted by the International Brethren in Christ Association (IBICA), including a delegate from the recently formed BIC conference in Kenya.
IBICA — a global network of BIC national conferences that first met in 2009 — was founded with the following purpose:
- To nurture a common identity,
- promote a common mission, and
- provide a common network for the global community of the Brethren in Christ in order to facilitate communication and provide a framework for addressing issues of mutual concern.
This year, the conference focused on two themes: 1) BIC identity, mission, and theology; 2) servant leadership.
Numerous leaders taught on these topics throughout the conference; each leader also provided a brief update on their country’s congregations. While sessions were well received, connecting with the global community was most valuable, said Alan Robinson, national director of BIC U.S.
“It is incredibly important to meet the leaders with whom we’re partnering in the gospel across the world,” said Alan. “I was also privileged to hear how Christ is at work in our brothers’ and sisters’ specific contexts and countries.”
In the future, IBICA leaders plan to host a similar gathering every 18-24 months, while also having regional meetings or assembling at Mennonite World Conference (MWC) events in between those months. This April, for example, BIC leaders who plan to participate in Mennonite World Conference General Council in Kenya will hold an IBICA meeting surrounding MWC General Council.
Each BIC national conference is asked to contribute 1 percent of revenue received from congregations to IBICA. The 2017 event was funded in part through a generous donation of $12,500 from Mennonite Central Committee U.S.